The Highest compliment:”You effed me up.”

December 4, 2016

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The class  of 76 worked  hard to bring the class  back for their 40th reunion.Add to this many from other years who convene around this time each year.

For 31 years I have  invited anybody I taught to a party around Christmas where we shoot the shit and tell lies. And if I didn’t teach you and you were in the school, come anyway.The stories get better with age. We celebrate two sacraments, fellowship and laughter. Ever was it thus. And we waive the 10 Italian limit for old times sake.

We have located in several venues, the latest being a yacht club on Toronto’s waterfront.

One brother has never missed in 31 years. He has requested anonymity as he is in the biz of putting criminals away. One other brother is a City of Toronto councillor who also never misses but last night he accompanied one of his sons to  a  live show in my old neighbourhood. His priorities have always been in tact.

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Every year we gather in the name of the broken Pawnbroker, Sol Nazerman, the anti-hero of the novel of the of the same name by Edward Lewis Wallant, a writer who died way too soon. The movie starring Rod Steiger was indelible, a powerful resurrection story.Sol a survivor of Auschwitz

Over the years in my mind Solly underwent a massive transformation.He always wanted to go to Israel where many of his landsmen went post 1945. Finally in 1990 he went and was stunned by what he saw—the native Palestinians were being brutally treated by fellow Jews. How can we who suffered so much do this to another people, Sol wondered. Since then he has traversed North America waking up fellow Jews to the shocking irony of the expelled who become expellers.
The pub was jammed as Sol’s party coincided with the 40 year celebration of 1976. People came from miles around. Brother Mark Redwood sailed in from Chicago wearing his 40 year old tie and uniform—and it still fit.

Many great stories and two great kudos, the type which can only be proffered in an all boys Catholic school. Two of these 60 year old ‘kids” gave me the highest compliment.

Man you really effed me up.”I loved it.”Thank you “I said. I really appreciate those words.” They went on to explain the street level praise.

“I was on my way to accept the received wisdom of the culture. I was all set to punch my ticket to the good life then you had the nerve to intervene and rattle my middle class worldview. Told me you had a bigger dream for me. Damn you with your subversive novels, raging poems and peace walks.You bastard, for showing me a Jesus who fought city hall and empire, a Jesus who escaped the safe confines of the parish church and was let loose as a force of liberation setting the captives free.

“Man you effed me up.”

Sometimes we vote for dopes

December 2, 2016

Jewish Group Disturbed By The Passing Of Anti-BDS Motion

 

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has maintained strong relations with the widely reviled government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is deeply concerned and disturbed by the passage of the private members motion 36 against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The motion passed despite opposition from the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP).

“It is outrageous for our elected representatives to publicly chastise human rights supporters, and falsely accuse them of hatred and bigotry for standing in solidarity with the victims of Israeli state violence and oppression. The so-called debate in the Ontario Legislature was little more than a slurry of lies and defamation against Palestinian human rights advocates,” says IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan.

“We are encouraged by ONDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh’s understanding of the issue, as he pointed out that opposition towards a government’s policies should not be conflated with a hatred of that government’s citizens. Real antisemitism, Singh points out, must be strongly opposed, but we cannot stifle freedom of expression by falsely labeling opposition to Israel’s policies as antisemitic.”

Several civil society organizations expressed their opposition to the motion, including CUPE Ontario, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, the Israeli organization Boycott from Within and dozens of other groups.

“IJV is also disturbed by this defamatory motion’s endorsement of the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism. This Protocol uses a widely discredited definition of antisemitism rejected by the European Union, which conflates opposition to political Zionism with antisemitism. This is an affront to those who have suffered under real antisemitism, and openly discriminates against Palestinian residents of Ontario who have been displaced and dispossessed as a result of political Zionism.”

“Israel’s efforts to distract from its systematic human rights violations have gained a footing amongst many of Ontario’s elected representatives,” continues Levitan. “Palestinian human rights advocates are simply demanding that Western governments and civil society apply non-violent pressure on Israel until it ends its brutal mistreatment of the Palestinians. Many of these advocates have requested a meeting with Premier Wynne over numerous months to explain their positions, but the requests have gone unheard.”

“The Ontario government, rather than challenging Israel’s blatant violations of international law, has done the opposite by rewarding the Netanyahu government with moral and diplomatic support, even boosting trade between the two governments. The message our government is sending is that Ontarians could care less about the suffering and oppression of the Palestinian people. This brings enormous shame on us all.”

 

 

 

Once again amnesia : Fidel Castro

November 30, 2016

Oh the historical amnesia!

Poor  young Trudeau getting slammed for his comments on Castro.

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CBC had the red meat Toronto Sun editor on flaying Trudeau as if Castro was Ivan the Terrible.And all the Postmedia papers around the country following suit, the same papers which bless israel’s horrific 50 year occupation of Palestine.

No historical memory of Cuba as a whore house for Americans and cheap rum and cigars for Miamians,  run by a corrupt dictator Fulgencio Batista who ran to Portugal with millions of stolen dollars. Cuba was amassive charnel house of impoverishment before Fidel booted the thieves out.

 
All these ‘experts” forget, the capitaist disease where novelty always destroys the memory of the past. The “Kennedy”  historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. described Cuba pre-Castro:
The corruption of the government, the brutality of the police, the regime’s indifference to the needs of the people for education, medical care, housing, for social justice and economic opportunity … constituted an open invitation to revolution.”

 

Castro became a hero for all of Latin America fed up with the USA controlling the southern cone as tits own property. The Monroe doctrine of 1823 supposedly ceded the south to the USA which ran it like its own fiefdom.10% of aamericans have passports  and are blithely ignorantof the rest of the world, so they have no idea why Fidel was idolized by all of Latin america,

For  these folks he was a “commie.”

Remember even FDR got caught up with it in the late 30sWhen others complained that Somoza of Nicaragua was a cruel bastard, FDR’s line was, “yes but he’s our bastard.’ In other words all the ‘dictaduras”, the harsh dictators propped up the USA in country after country would do Uncle Sam’s bidding—murder if they had to, any progressive Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Chilean, Argentinean etc to keep the oil, bananas, and natural resources cheap and flowing north.

Fidel was the one who stopped the USA dead in its imperial tracks. They never forgave him, tried to assassinate him, They sent in the Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs. After that fiasco even JFK never trusted tire wise men of the Pentagon again.
So Castro was pushed—and nobody defends his harsh treatments of dissidents, but those Cubanos screaming loudest in Miami and that silly Sun editor have a bad case of amnesia.
Free education, sending doctors all over the world while trying to fend off the USA. It’s amazing he survived to 90.
Gmme a break.
As usual those screaming loudest have no historical sense at all.Even in death Fidel gives them apoplexy.

 

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Poor Justin folded like a cheap suit and backed off attending Castro’s funeral. His father would have given the baying hounds the Trudeau salute.

Little Stevie Van Zandt and Paul Simon

November 28, 2016

Paul Simon, one of my favourite artists.I think a very decent guy but sometimes in his long career he missed the boat.

A bright guy Simon was enrolled in law school when he bolted for his long distinguished musical career.

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Stevie Van Zandt, inter alia, a member of Springsteen’s E Strret band probably never finished high school but he he had a finer social inbtelligence than Simon.

Little Stevie  asked Paul Simon to be part of the anti-apartheid anthem Sun City.The year was 1985.

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Dylan, Springsteen Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Bono, Keith Richards, Peter Gabriel, Pete Townsend, Jackson Browne,  Run DMZ,Gil-Scott-Heron, Ronny Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Garrett, Clarence Clemons all signed on.

Simon absolutely refused.

Van Zandt met  Simon at a party for  an entertainment lawyer they both knew.
He spoke about his experiences with anti-apartheid activists in South Africa.

Simon dismissed them as “Communist puppets.”

The ANC was a Soviet Front and the Pan African Congress was hand in hand with the Chinese government.

Simon asked Stevie, “Why are you defending that Mandela guy. He’s obviously a Communist.”

He knew this as he had been talking to a friend who knew these things—Henry Kissinger!

At this point Stevie in his best New Joisey style said,” You and Henry Kissinger can go fuck yourselves.”

p 299 Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon

Ezekiel wisdom for Democrats

November 21, 2016

A little biblical wisdom to the US Democrats.

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The inevitable demise of a political party swimming in the foul waters of US capitalism happened before our eyes in the US election. After years of handing over the party to financial backers the democrats gave the Us and the world Donald Trump.
Did it really take a genius to see that the Dems had for a long time failed their former constituency of working people. What a lazy crew, one which never did their homework and assumed that it was Hilary’s turn—the same woman who pocketed a $250,000 cheque from Wall street as she was running for the highest office in the land…totally ignoring those who were unemployed and languishing in the Rust Belt. Imagine, not even campaigning in Wisconsin.

 

Well it turns out Ezekiel the biblical prophet had some insight for the Dems. Ezekiel appeared on the scene as the Judahites were led off to Babylon, (circa 587 BCE) modern day Iraq and he accompanied them. In chapter 34, one of the major prophets of Israel turned on the Democratic leaders of his day. He carves up “the shepherds of Israel.” Some shepherds.
“You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed’–I’ll say, those Rust Belt states went to Obama 8 years earlier and Bernie actually won them in the primaries. “You have not sought out the lost but with force and harshness you have ruled them”
Yahweh speaketh—hey Dems are you listening—“I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out will rescue them from all the places which they have been scattered…I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed and I will bind up the injured and I will strengthen the weak…” 34: 11-16
Wow, the Dems packed the DNC with Hilary insiders, scorned the Jewish socialist Bernie who spoke for the vast numbers of the poor and unemployed. The false shepherds betrayed the party and the people.
A tried and true policy. Go and defend the common good, the earth and the poor.

 
Good politics, good religion.

 

The democrats lost their way, ignored the pain of working people and the Us got the Donald.

Christ the King?

November 17, 2016

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Christ the King is a minor feast in the church’s calendar to be sure. We celebrate it this sunday. I would love to hear the homilies in wealthy parishes.What does this really mean Christ the King when the kingdom is upside down and associated with losers, the nonviolent, the mourners, the meek and the pure of heart not to mention the peacemakers of the Beatitudes?

This pre-Advent  sunday really defines the whole Catholic Christian enterprise. Which Christ are we following?

It is a stark reminder  of our ultimate allegiance. To whom do we really belong?

This once again came home to me in the recent American election when once gain Catholics failed the smell test…as they did in the Reagan years,  giving this truly awful president 2 mandates. Catholics said with their vote: Christ the lover of the poor, the non violent regent of God is not rally Lord. America is. Wealth is . Power is. We are comfortable with the growing gap between rich and poor, the environment? What’s that got to do with Jesus? Yep Catholics sided with the basher of the poor Ronny Reagan and now RCs are on board with the Donald.

Trumps’s America like Reagan’s like a bloated military budget which in effect is a war on the poor and the common good; they seemingly do not  mind  millions of people with no health care. and as for the environment, the greatest moral issue of our time, we are with the polluters.”Believing man” as Dan Berrigan often said, “is political man.” Budgets are moral documents. Do we serve God or mammon? Is it Yahweh or Amway?

Where does a country and a president put his money? 3 billion a year to Israel and nada for sub-Sahara Africa?

To which Christ do we belong? Is the crucified one, our Lord? Christ the King sunday challenges to our core.

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Dorothy Solle’s Credo is fitting today. This Christ is King.

CREDO
I believe in God

who created the world not ready made

like a thing that must forever stay what it is

who does not govern according to eternal laws

that have perpetual validity

nor according to natural orders

of poor and rich,

experts and ignoramuses,

people who dominate and people subjected.

I believe in God
 who desires the counter-argument of the living

and the alteration of every condition

through our work

through our politics.
I believe in Jesus Christ

who was right when he

“as an individual who can’t do anything”

just like us

worked to alter every condition

and came to grief in so doing

Looking to him I discern

how our intelligence is crippled,

our imagination suffocates,

and our exertion is in vain

because we do not live as he did
Every day I am afraid

that he died for nothing

because he is buried in our churches,

because we have betrayed his revolution

in our obedience to and fear

of the authorities.

I believe in Jesus Christ

who is resurrected into our life

so that we shall be free

from prejudice and presumptuousness

from fear and hate

and push his revolution onward

and toward his reign
I believe in the Spirit

who came into the world with Jesus,
in the communion of all peoples

and our responsibility for what will become of our earth:

a valley of tears, hunger, and violence
or the city of God.

I believe in the just peace

that can be created,

in the possibility of meaningful life

for all humankind,

in the future of this world of God.
Amen

America: “the family is broken.”

November 13, 2016

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The arrogant and ignorant clown takes the reins as only 54.5% of the dumbed down electorate votes..

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And on cue the humble Leonard Cohen exits this earth. With Trump at the helm, for Leonard, its Closing time. He’s seen enough. Cue one more time his prophetic homage to America, Democracy id Coming to the USA, “the cradle of the best and the worst

It’s coming to America first,
The cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
And it’s here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Trump, Clinton and Israel

November 10, 2016

The brilliant Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff  never fails to cut to the chase when it comes to Israel. It matters not who the American president will be,whether it was a Clinton or trump, both are or will be in thrall to The Israeli lobby.Clinton was shameless in her obeisance to the billionaire Haim Saban who often bragged that he was a “one issue guy”—Israel. Or as it should be lnown as “pro occupation of the Palestinian people.”

 

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Trumpland

November 10, 2016

Trump lost the popular vote. So the country is evenly divided—and at each others’ throats.

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The mystery is how pathetic the Democratic Party has become—abandoning a former core constituency, ignoring the growing gap, taking voters for granted and cheques from Wall Street. Maybe Gore Vidal was right: there is only 1 party in Washington–and it has 2 wings. How could the Dems lose to a clown like Trump.

Easy by throwing up a party insider, a woman so isolated from working class hurt and ordinary people’s struggles, a woman running for the highest office and pocketing a $250,000 cheque for speakimg to Wall Street. And her name is Clinton, the better half of a couple who have engorged themselves and become wealthy as “public sevants.”As Bill Murray would say, “I have to laugh.” They seem to have no understanding that you can’t hang with the 1% when the 99% are losing jobs and seeing their wages stagnate.

Bill Clinton and Tony Blair—what a pair, turning formerly working class voices over to the Third Way—while getting fabulously rich themselves. These people are out of it.Long on hubris and greed, short on humility.

Clinton promoted NAFTA which hollowed out the Rust belt.he created mass incarceration, threw millions off welfare and the most despicable moment for me was when running for president came back to arkansas to make sure a retrded, brain damaged black man Ricky Ray Rector with an IQ of 70 went to the chair. What a cynical bastard.

Ordinary people had enough of the Clintons and actually turned to the worst qualified person to run for the Presidency in living memory. Trump made G W Bush look positively …well, presidential. Here’s how Democracy Now summed up the boorish arriviste:

Donald Trump has never held elective office. He opened his campaign in 2015 with a speech calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. He openly mocked his opponents, reporters, Asians, African Americans and the disabled. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, and he was heard in a 2005 videotape boasting about sexually assaulting women. Throughout the campaign, Trump drew the enthusiastic support of white nationalists and hate groups. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana, cheered the outcome of the election. Duke tweeted, “This is one of the most exciting nights of my life. Make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump! #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.”

Bernie Sanders spoke for ordinary Americans but the Dems owed Hilary and shot themselves in the head.

Dear Bishop Crosby…

October 31, 2016

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The Canadian Catholic bishops deep sixed the ecumenical advocacy group KAIROS on such flimsy pretexts. Of course, they never consulted the 99% —lay people.The JP/Ratzinger bishops have proven themselves way behind lay people in this regard. John and Rosemary williams were not impressed
Dear Bishop Crosby,

As members of a parish social justice committee and long-time participants in Catholic social justice activities, we were shocked and saddened at the announcement that the CCCB is withdrawing from Kairos. The Catholic Church leadership in Canada has already disgraced itself by not coming anywhere near to fulfilling its commitment of $25 million for indigenous reconciliation and healing and by its absence from the March 31, 2016 press conference at which other church leaders announced their acceptance of the TRC Call to Action #48. With this latest decision the Church is seen as repudiating the work of Kairos towards these same goals. We are embarrassed to identify ourselves as Catholics when associating with indigenous people and members of other Christian churches working towards reconciliation.

Our parish reconciliation program has greatly benefited  from Kairos resources such as the blanket exercise. Some of us took part in the very successful Kairos-organized conference immediately preceding the final session of the TRC here in Ottawa as well as the march that took place during that session. As the successor to numerous social justice organizations in which the Catholic Church played a leading role, Kairos fulfills a unique and essential role that the Catholic Church by itself cannot and evidently will not assume.

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According to the announcement on the CCCB website, the decision to withdraw from Kairos was made with no other input than from the CCCB and its committees. Is this not a perfect example of the clericalism that Pope Francis has so strongly condemned? Although the Bishops are seen as the leaders of the Church, they are not the Church tout court. Surely on an issue such as this you should have consulted all those who would be affected by the decision, including concerned laity, other churches who are members of Kairos and Kairos itself.

 

Not only was the decision-making process deeply flawed but the reason for the decision is entirely unconvincing. To say that “the way Kairos is structured … does not foster the kind of ecumenical engagement [you] need and require” is meaningless. Surely you owe to concerned Catholics, not to mention Kairos and the other churches, an explanation why the Kairos structure is so deeply flawed that it cannot be revised to take account of your legitimate concerns, whatever they are. And if you can provide convincing reasons for your decision, then you need to say how you are going to promote reconciliation and healing either apart from or in cooperation with Kairos.

 

Bishop Crosby, it was disconcerting to see your smiling face on the website next to the announcement about withdrawing from Kairos. We had been aware of your support for reconciliation with indigenous peoples and had hoped that as President of the CCCB you would use this office to help restore the Catholic Church’s very bad reputation on this issue. Despite the positive statement on “The Doctrine of Discovery”, the Kairos decision has made the situation worse. Unless you take immediate steps to reverse this decision, parishes such as ours will have to work for reconciliation while repudiating the decisions of our church leaders.

 

Yours truly,

John and Rosemary Williams